Vandals wrap up season, Sun Belt tenure in Atlanta

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MOSCOW — Idaho football closes out both the 2017 season and Sun Belt play on Saturday, at Georgia State. The Vandals (3-8, 2-5 Sun Belt) will take on the Panthers (6-4, 5-2 Sun Belt) at 11 a.m. PST, at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta, and the game will be available on ESPN3.

The Panthers are bowl eligible for the second time in three years at 6-4, including five road wins, under first-year head coach Shawn Elliott. The Panthers boast the Sun Belt’s leading receiver in Penny Hart (7.0 receptions and 102.2 yards per game).

Idaho, which has two former Sandpoint players in grey-shirt freshman tackle Carlos Collado and linebacker Kyle Perry, will play its final game as a member of the ill-fitting Sun Belt Conference, before moving back to the Big Sky Conference and FCS football in 2018.

QUARTERBACK SITUATION: Idaho has played three quarterbacks in its last three games. Sophomore Mason Petrino made his first-career start at quarterback against Coastal Carolina (Nov. 18), filling in for injured four-year starter Matt Linehan. Petrino, whose one previous start came at wide receiver, finished 18-of-26 for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception. In his second start at New Mexico State (Nov. 25), Petrino was injured on Idaho’s second offensive possession. True freshman Colton Richardson was called upon to make his collegiate debut. Richardson finished 18-of-33 for 167 yards and a touchdown. Linehan had appeared in 44 of Idaho’s 45 games prior to missing the game against Coastal Carolina (Nov. 18), starting 43 of them. He is 52 yards shy of becoming the program’s all-time passing yards leader. Linehan is doubtful this week and Petrino has been ruled out.

CLOSE ONLY COUNTS IN...: The Vandals have played a school-record seven games decided by one possession this season. All seven have come in Sun Belt play. Idaho is 2-5 in those contests, suffering its five conference losses by a combined 24 points.

1,000 YARDS: Aaron Duckworth needs 88 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Duckworth is looking to secure the 14th 1,000-yard season in program history and the first since Elijhaa Penny in 2015. Duckworth has reached 912 yards on 174 carries. Only one Vandal has rushed for 1,000 yards on fewer than 200 attempts (Russell Davis, 1981; 1,117 yards on 140 carries).

For more on the Vandals, visit www.govandals.com.

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